Mark Hall: Leaving His Mark on the Glass World

Featured Artists

We recently asked our Facebook fans to send us photos of glass art from their gardens. We received some especially interesting photos from glass artist Mark Hall. Impressed as we were, we realized that Mark's talent goes far beyond the confines of his garden. He is self-taught and has mastered German leading techniques, hand beveling, mirroring and sandblasting among other techniques. He fine-tuned hisskills while studying abroad in Germany at Derix Glass Studio,at Pilchuck School of Glass in Washington, andwith The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York. He and his wife, Leslie, now work together at Hallmark Glass.

How did you get started in glass?

In 1976 my brother informed me he'd started a business, and I was his partner. Surprised, I asked, What's our business? He responded, Stained glass. I knew nothing about it, so I learned how to make a window on our first commission.

Why glass?

My brother decided this for me, and my interest in the field has kept me on track.

How have your other interests/hobbies/career influenced your glass designs? First of all my focus became glass, most other hobbies fell by the wayside. Now I don't fish, I just like to ride in the boat and observe Nature. Years of fabricating and installing other designers' work has taught me color relationships, scale, and given me vision to 'see' work before it's made. This trait really launched success in fused/slumped glasswork and provided experience for designing myself.

How has your geographic loc
ation (the white winter landscape of the Northland) influenced your work?

The cold white winters compel me to use lots of color, and makes the warmth of glassblowing personal. Each spring is an unveiling. Our precious Boundry Waters Canoe Area (God's country) placed permanent visions in my mind, which seeps into my work. Practicality comes from country living, and planting a large garden via living in the Land of the Jolly Green Giant.

What inspires you?

I'm thrilled by the process - totally emerged in creating the work, while envisioning the final result. Scenes are extremely challenging and have always been a favorite of mine (observing how Tiffany tricked viewers into realizing three dimensions on a two dimensional plane has helped). I'm really into taking fused glass to the glory hole, pioneering kiln-formed cylinders (pictured bottom left) designed to pick-up warm on a blowpipe and blown into vessels. With this method (eliminating the crucible furnace) fusing studios can make a few simple additions and begin blowing their kiln-formed glass, achieving the next level. The heart of glass is found working it hot, and I'd like to help others realize this for themselves, by example.

What makes your work unique from everyone elses?

I like to include found objects, use 'surprises' out of the kiln, and generally allow the materials to have bit of a say in my work. When designing for a space, I'll often call for work over and above my talents, then appropriately deal with it after I get the job. Plus, using a broad range of techniques enables the work to better fit the space, advances abilities, and helps establish valuable contacts. My blown work utilizes a technique I came up with on my own (kiln-formed cylinders), so it contains its own fingerprint.

Many of your pieces involve metal and wire, do you consider your self a mixed media artist?

You could label me that way. I'm primarily a glass guy using metal to bring art glass into the third dimension - enabling it to appear in railings, mounted on walls, sitting on table-tops, stuck in the ground, or hanging from trees.

Whose work, glass or otherwise, do you most admire?

Ed Carpenter, Bertil Vallien, Johannes Schreiter, and Scott Chaseling

Do you sell your work? If so, where?

Yes, we have our own studio gallery and also represented at Stones Throw Gallery located in St. Peter, MN.

What are some upcoming exhibits/shows that you are excited about?

I'm all about teaching a kiln formed cylinder workshop at the Minnesota Center for Glass Arts in Minneapolis, MN starting September 10.

What advice would you give other glass artists?

You really can make anything you put your mind to. Everything begins with desire, just make sure you're asking what's right for you (be careful what you want - make sure it keeps you on your path). Take note of what takes away your free spirit then avoid these things. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and don't feel bad if you don't get an answer. Make your own equipment - it's cheaper (often better) and challenges you to personally be responsible for achieving your goals while learning new skills. Get used to uncertainty, it's normal. Have faith in the universe - things will be alright.

You can contact Mark at Hallmark Art Glass; 201 N. Rice St., Kasota, MN 56050; 507-931-9489 or visit his website at

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Meet the Delphi Bloggers - Experienced, Knowledgeable Associates who Love the Glass Art The people who write Delphi's blog, work in our store or answer our Project Helpline are artists in their own right. When you shop from Delphi you get experienced staff can help you select glass for projects, find the tools that are right for your budget and help you get started in a new art. That's why we're here, and why Delphi has been able to successfully help people around the world be creative since 1972. That's the Delphi difference! Delphi was founded in 1972 on the belief that making art glass projects should be enjoyable and rewarding for everyone, from beginner crafters to professional artists. We pride ourselves on customer service and expert knowledge about the crafts our customers enjoy. With 40 years of experience and retail, wholesale and educational divisions, Delphi is dedicated to our customer's satisfaction. Delphi is located in Lansing, MI. Photo: Leslie Sunderlin, Customer Service Lead, Glass Fuser